Saturday, 27 August 2016

Post 435 - A reserves Challenge update - Dales Meadows!

Looking down over Leyburn Old Glebe to the hills.
Hey everyone, today's Post 435 and at the start of my summer holidays I went around the Yorkshire Dales to see what some of the reserves around there were like, expecting no less than I got, some absolutely beautiful places. But, it is the Dales of course!

Now I went to more flowery and meadowy reserves this time as there aren't that many birdy places around where I live. Luckily, there's about 5 of these in quite a small area so after we'd gone into one, we hopped in the car and took a ten minute drive down to the next reserve. The weather was fantastic too, a lovely sunny dale for pootling around the Dales!

Devils Bit Scabious
Common Blue
The first one we went to was Leyburn Old Glebe
. This was quite a special one as it's home to the Burnt-Tip Orchid. This is a plant that I haven't yet seen before, and still haven't as I didn't manage to find one, whether we were a bit late for them or we just didn't look hard enough, we still don't know. But it was a lovely place, with lovely flowers and a lovely view.

Pelucid Fly on Knapweed

The Place was alive with insects feeding on all of the flowers that were blooming. I saw some lovely Devils Bit Scabious and orchids amongst them all. I hadn't been on the site long when a lovely Common Blue Butterfly settled nearby and was quite happy to have its photo taken. A Pelucid fly on (I think) some Knapweed was also very happy for me to get quite close for a shot.

Seata Quarry
Erinus Alpinus
A bit further down the road was another one great reserve Seata Quarry. This was a very small reserve, famous for its Fragrant Orchid, which, again, we looked for, but didn't see one. We saw some sort of raptor fly into a tree that was only about 50 metres away, but then seemed to disappear. It was probably a Buzzard but as it won the game of hide and seek I can't be sure. But the inland cliffs, although man made, were lovely. Lots of specialist little plants like one of Dad's favourite non-natives Erinus Alpinus (Fairy Foxglove) have managed to grow on the rock faces. The landscape is man made too as it's mainly grazed and there's not a lot of forest, but it's still pretty amazing.
Too late - Newbiggin was mown!

Disappointingly, the next reserve on our travels, Newbiggin Pastures, was a bit of a let down as we were too late. It was mown. This would be a lovely one to visit earlier in the year as apparently there are Marsh Marigold and Redstart there, I only saw my first Redstart today, but I'll cover that in another post.

Yellands Meadow must have been a reserve that the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have had for a while, as it had a very licheny sign that said Yorkshire Naturalist's Trust, which is what it was known as before it changed its name! This was another mostly mown one, but it was still a really nice one! There was a little stream running through the middle of it and the banks hadn't been mown so we were looking for insects like flies and hoverflies on some of the Cow Parsley. There was a bit of rustling in the plants and we heard a 'plop' in the stream, so we suspect that we may have been inches away from a Water Vole!

Semer Water - looking in the plants
Awesome meadows
The last one of the day was Semer Water, and it was a funny one because it was kind of two reserves, one a little path, through the meadows, but as you go further on there's also a lake! This is another natural glacial lake like Lake Gormire that I go to quite often. The meadows here are huge and seem to run to the hills in the distance. It was full of flowers and insects happily buzzing around in the fabulous Yorkshire sunshine that stayed with us all day

Helophilus pendulus
Well, this really did prove to me that the Yorkshire Dales is one of the nicest places, I think at least, in the world, not like I need any persuasion!

Sprotbrough Flash
One last one just to mention is Sprotbrough Flash. This was a flying visit on my way to my Norfolk holiday. We decided to stop off near here to have lunch and give Esme, our little Jack Russell, a little walk. This place looks pretty amazing. It was another warm sunny day and in the few minutes we were here I saw loads of butterflies and dragonflies. It's one I'll have to come back to for a better look around soon.

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. Love those blue skies at Semer Water Zach, lovely! Always nice to see the pretty flowers of devil's bit scabious too, such a lovely flower. LOVE the butterfly shot too! - Tasha

    1. Thanks Tasha, it was a beautiful day and the insects all behaved very well - blue butterflies have normally been very tricky for me so it was nice to get this one :-)